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Sr. Canisia Anchanikal

“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures: he leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; your rod and your staff they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD forever.” Ps:23 In the earthly life of Sr. Canisia, the above verses of the psalm are appropriate indeed. She truly believed and experienced the Lord as her shepherd. She trusted in the goodness and mercy of God and that followed her all the days of her life. It was her ardent desire and determination to seek her happiness in the service of God and His people here on earth and now in death she hopes to enjoy His love forever in heaven. The call to enjoy God’s love forever in heaven came to Sr. Canisia unpredictably on Monday, 27th November 2017 at 12.15 a.m at Mariampur Hospital, Kanpur. Sr.Canisia was born in Cherakadav, in the Diocese of Kanjirapally, in Kottayam District, Kerala, to Kurian and Anna Anchanikal on 18th October 1943. She was baptized as Katrina and she is the 10th of 12 children. Later on, the family was migrated to Chembanthotty, Kannur that is in the diocese of Thalasseri, Kerala. Her cultural roots and upbringing were always strong in Katrina and her character displayed those traits we associate with her - Strength, perseverance, hope, openness, generosity, simplicity, joy, and close family ties. Faith and Church played a central role in the life of Katrina’s family and so it was not surprising that in 1962, at the age of 19, Katrina heard and answered the call to religious life - to the Ursulines of Mary Immaculate. On her Profession day as a UMI, Katrina received the name Sr. Maria Canisia. She was professed on 3rd April 1967 at Ursuline Convent Kannur, Kerala. As a young and zealous missionary religious Sr.Canisia was missioned to North India at Nirmala Convent, Kathgodam, as one of the pioneering members of the community, where she had to face the initial struggles of the mission there. She rendered her dedicated and valuable services in different communities of ours in various parts of India and as well as abroad. From Kathgodam she continued her services in Mariampur convent Kanpur, Karunashray hospital Sultanpur, Nirmala Hospital Calicut, Ursuline Convent Kannur and she received an overseas missionary call to our motherhouse in Piacenza, Italy where she served for 22 long years. In the year 2008 she returned to North India and remained in Mariampur Hospital community till her death. Sr. Canisia accomplished with love and dedication all that was entrusted to her. Her simple and humble ways were inspiring and it was “characterized by enthusiasm, generosity, and joy.” She was an affectionate and friendly religious .She found joy in making use of her special talents and hobbies like stitching, embroidery, cooking and gardening when her health conditions were good. Most of us must be recipients of her talents. Sr.Canisia’s humble, hidden, unnoticed, hardworking, and unassuming ways have promoted growth to the Congregation. She has been suffering from ill health for some years. She suffered from diabetes, Hypertension, high cholesterol, chronic liver decease and had been on continuous treatment by specialists. On and off she had been admitted to the hospital and was treated for her symptom. Recently she had a fall in the room and was on treatment. She recovered from this partially and had started to move about with the support. From the 23rd of this month onwards, she was seen disoriented on and off. So she was admitted in Mariampur hospital for continuous observation and treatment. The blood sugar and B.P was high for which immediate treatment was given. She responded to the treatment and showed some improvement. She received the anointing of the sick on Saturday. On 26th, Sunday midnight she became suddenly restless and within few minutes she passed away at 12.15 a.m in the presence of sisters, doctors and staff. We give thanks to God for the life of Sister Canisia as an Ursuline. Through her goodness and service to the community, she has given witness as a religious for 51 years and not least of all, her prayers have won graces for her community, Congregation, her family and friends, the Church, the wider community, the world. We thank her for all that she had been and for all the contribution she made for the growth and welfare of the Church, Congregation and the mission in India and Italy. Sr. Canisia has fought the good fight, and have run the race. Now, in the company of Mary, Our Good Mother may she find in the Risen Lord as He presents her to God, our Loving Father, those secrets of the ‘beyond’ she was always seeking here on earth. We pray that the Lord grant her eternal joy and happiness. Although death brings a deep sense of sadness and loss to us, faith provides solace and strength for us. It is a time when we encounter the things of God and our belief in Him in new way. It is a time for us to support and console one another--especially in our belief in the gift of eternal life. As Christians when we encounter death, we are drawn to prayer. Let us pray for our dear Sr. Canisia, her bereaved family members, we who are experiencing the loss of our loved one and in a particular manner Sr. Vimal and Sr. Molly, the two nieces of Sr. Canisia and a relative Sr. Ramya who are with us UMIs. I would like to offer my deepest appreciation & thanks to Most Rev. Raphy Manjaly, Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Allahabad, for making himself available for us to be the main celebrant of the funeral Eucharistic Celebration and service. His sympathetic words were very soothing and his inspiring reflections brought hope to all who were present. My deep gratitude to all the fathers of Allahabad Diocese specially, Rev. Frs. Sebastian Francis, Rajesh Simon and George of St. Xaviers Parish, Kanpur for their valuable spiritual guidance, concern and timely help and for administering the holy sacraments. I also express my gratitude to Fr.Antony Muthu of the Diocese of Varanasi for being present for the funeral mass. Let us commend Sr. Canisia’s soul to God’s loving mercy. May the Lord honour his beloved and welcome her into the mansions of His glory. We shall joyfully greet her again through Christ, who conquers all things, destroys even death itself.